Local business and college faculty partner to raise cancer research funds

For many families, nothing hits closer to home than a cancer diagnosis for a loved one. Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed of the cancers, and just about everyone can tell a story about a mother, sister, partner, daughter, wife or neighbor who has been touched by this disease. While it’s a very personal situation for each individual affected, efforts to discover better diagnosis, treatment—and eventually a cure—for breast cancer must be conducted on a large scale. This kind of research costs money, lots of it.

With an eye toward the local and the global, a group of Cuyahoga Community College faculty has come together to raise money for large-scale breast cancer research studies. They will do this in partnership with a Cleveland Heights business. The “We Pink We Can” team is joining arms with Quintana’s Barber & Dream Spa to give customers a way to contribute to an important cause while enjoying the services of a salon that has won awards from FutureHeights and Cleveland's Scene magazine.

“It’s a win-win for everyone involved,” said Dawn Mongullezzi Quintana, the spa’s co-owner. “We’re glad to return 5 percent of every Think Pink manicure, pedicure, and rose oil massage from Tuesday, April 24 through Saturday, April 28 to the team.” In return, Tri-C faculty members, including Stacey Souther, Ashlee Brand, Angela Mensah and Mary Ward, will add these donations to the money they are raising in preparation for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Walk to be held in Cleveland this August.

“Each of us has her own reasons for training and fundraising,” said team co-captain Souther. "In my case, one of those reasons actually arose after I started working on the event.” Souther’s mother-in-law was diagnosed just last month with early-stage breast cancer. “When I decided to participate, I had no idea how quickly it would become personal.”

Souther is a devoted Cleveland Heights resident. In fact, her husband, Mark Souther, a faculty member at Cleveland State University, was one of the driving forces behind the establishment of the Grant Deming’s Forest Hill neighborhood as a historic district. The value of community partnership runs deep in the family, as it does for all We Pink We Can team members and their supporters.

One supporter is Ann Donkin, a breast cancer survivor. As a member of the Patient and Family Advisory Council at University Hospital’s Seidman Cancer Center, Donkin reminds everyone that it is not only cancer patients who bear the brunt of the disease. “Caregivers—those family members, neighbors, friends, and healthcare workers who stand with those battling breast cancer—have important self-care needs, too.”

Quintana’s is also offering a “Care for the Caregivers” special. The spa will donate 5 percent of the value of gift certificates purchased for the featured Think Pink services from April 24–28. Those purchasing gift certificates can give them to friends, family members, and healthcare professionals who devote their time and energy to caring for those undergoing breast cancer treatment.

To participate, call the spa at 216-321-7889 to book an appointment. “Make it a fun outing and book for yourself and a friend,” suggested Quintana. The We Pink We Can team will be supplying special snacks for spa patrons who have appointments during Think Pink week. Souther said, “We want people to have fun while taking care of themselves and helping to advance research that benefits us all.”

Kimberly Hill

Kimberly Hill teaches English at Cuyahoga Community College and has lived in Cleveland Heights since 1984.

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Volume 5, Issue 4, Posted 10:36 AM, 04.04.2012